BDS: Mideast studies body members to vote on resolution

BDS: US-based Mideast studies body members soon to vote on pro-Palestine resolution
2 min read
03 December, 2021
The largest Middle East academic body in North America will vote on whether to adopt an extensive boycott, divestment, and sanctions resolution early next year.
Ninety-three percent of MESA members voted to take a BDS resolution to a full membership vote [Getty]

A US-based Middle East academic studies body voted Thursday to take a resolution endorsing the Palestinian call for solidarity in the form of boycott, divestment and sanctions to a full membership vote in early 2022.

Ninety-three percent of Middle East Studies Association (MESA) members voted at an annual meeting to advance the BDS resolution to a vote for members worldwide.

“The resolution endorses Palestinian civil society’s call for solidarity as they work to safeguard their human rights, including the right to education and academic freedom,” a statement published Thursday on MESA’s website read.

MESA President Dina Rizk Khoury told members: “Today’s vote clears a path for our full membership to collectively determine how we can do our part to support the academic freedom and education rights of Palestinian scholars and students, not to mention Israeli scholars facing attacks from their own government for criticizing its policies.”

If ratified next year, the resolution would direct MESA to find ways of upholding the call for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions in alignment with the association’s mission to defend academic freedom, and in a manner consistent with MESA’s bylaws as well as relevant US federal, state, and local laws.

“The call for an academic boycott extends to Israeli institutions which are complicit in Israel’s violations of human rights and international law through their provision of direct assistance to the Israeli military and intelligence establishment.”

The resolution states that the boycott will not target individual students or scholars and reiterates the right of individual MESA members to choose whether or not they wish to participate in an academic boycott.

The academic boycott of Israel is supported by other academic bodies in the USA including the graduate student workers unions at New York University and University of Massachusetts Amherst, among others.